With the massive military presence in Colorado Springs, the multiple deployments soldiers and Marines are enduring to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other hot spots for our local Special Forces group, such actions as are described below have been regular occurrences here and at other bases around the United States. The author, Gordon Duff, is a Marine combat veteran and regular contributor on political and social issues to Veterans Today.
Within the past year a soldier at Fort Carson recorded a psychologist telling him medical staff were being strongly discouraged from diagnosing PTSD in combat veterans. But without such a diagnosis it becomes very likely the scenario described below will play out for a combat veteran, especially after multiple deployments.
And who has forgotten President Obama's recent recommendation that veterans should pay for their own health insurance?
Originally posted on Veterans Today, reproduced with permission of the author
September 18, 2009 It all began as a Bush era program, promoted by Dr. Sally Satel, the famed PTSD denialist putting thousands of soldiers at risk and pushing hundreds to suicide. Thousands of veterans lost all benefits, GI Bill, medical care and more through Army discharge scam, part of a neo-con "cost saving program"
How did it work? Simple. A very large percentage of combat vets with PTSD are problem drinkers, self medicating in the only way they can and, in the process, getting worse and worse. Redeployments of soldiers needing treatment only adds to the problem. When vets with severe PTSD demonstrate severe symptoms, including alcohol abuse, they are put in short and unproven "quit" programs with an extremely high failure rate. This is all part of a game, one invented to trap soldiers and cut costs.
Step 2 in the game, the Army "orders" the soldier not to drink, knowing the order itself is absurd. Real treatment for PTSD is denied. When the soldier drinks, and they always do, the soldier is arrested, jailed and charged, now get this, with disobeying a direct order, Article 34 and disrespect to an officer or noncom.
Sometimes even more charges are piled on. In the end, the deal is the same. Leave the army with nothing but years of honorable service now labeled as "dishonorable" or "bad conduct" and face civilian life crushed and abandoned by the country you risked your life to serve.
The Army learned the game from the VA. The VA denied PTSD diagnoses to Vietnam veterans who drank or used alcohol, claiming they couldn't be diagnosed. Problem is, almost all PTSD vets use alcohol or drugs as self medication. End result, tens of thousands of Vietnam vets were denied diagnosis, treatment and compensation for decades with thousand dying as a result.
The basis of the Army policy is the Dr. Sally Satel theory that PTSD does not exist and all vets are fakers. Her beliefs, fringe "neo-con medicine" comes from a theory that soldiers and veterans are part of a non-productive social class that taxes a nation's economic health as soon as they leave a combat zone. The end analysis supports the supposition that a disabled veteran and an illegal alien on welfare contribute exactly the same to the overall welfare of society.
If Darwin meant for illegal aliens to survive, they would have been born in the United States, or, as in the case of our warriors, they would have sought an occupation less dangerous, stressful and likely to bring about personal harm. Soldiers, through choosing to serve, prove themselves unworthy of survival in a society of the fittest. In some ways, this is a powerful argument for Social Darwinism and Eugenics.
However, from a standpoint of loyalty, patriotism and support of our military forces during wartime, the concept sucks big time. Thank heavens nobody knows about this, not the Veterans Service Organizations, the ACLU, the Obama Administration or our officer corps of Service Academy graduates.
You have to admire the game. The Army has a cure for anything. Will they start walking up to amputees and ordering them to grow new limbs? "Soldier, regrow that hand immediately or we will put you in Leavenworth."
Picture yourself, as one of thousands of vets with bad discharges. Picture yourself unable to get a defense or post office job. Picture yourself with no GI bill, no home loan, no PTSD treatment, no disability compensation, no insurance for your family, no education benefits for your children.
Picture the people who did this to you. They were bureaucrats, fat asses, accountants, REMFs, and paper pushers in the Pentagon who blackmailed you into signing everything away or spending years on administrative hold awaiting court martial for being sick.
How long will it take the Obama administration to find these veterans, not really vets, since, no matter how much combat they saw or how much they served, they are no longer veterans. They signed that away. You can't be a vet with a bad discharge. Nice game, huh?
Did Secretary Gates mention that he was going to offer a blanket review of all bad discharges to make sure the military didn't create a sick game to victimize our troops? Are they being contacted, brought in, getting legal help and medical evaluations?
What are we doing to undo this criminal misconduct on the part of the Department of Defense? Maybe, if we wait long enough, veterans will all give up or die. It has always worked well in the past, why give up a successful approach that has served so well in the past.